The Viaduct Tavern
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The Viaduct Tavern

The pub with cellars that used to be cells in Newgate Prison.


This pub was opened in 1869 opposite the Holborn Viaduct which also opened in 1869.

The whole area here built on the site of the notorious Newgate Prison. Newgate was infamous for executions and squalid conditions, and was completely demolished in 1902.

The Viaduct Tavern actually stands not on the site of Newgate but of the Giltspur Street Compter. Described in The London Encyclopaedia as a heavily rusticated stone building, it was designed by Dance The Younger and demolished in 1855. Nevertheless, the fact that it does occupy the site of another, less famous, prison explains why its cellar contains prison cells.

The pub has 3 paintings each featuring a maiden representing agriculture, banking and the arts. The latter has her bottom defaced by a drunken soldier in the first World War who allegedly fired his rifle at it.

The rough nature of the area was still in evidence after the opening of the pub and is noticeable by the small booth behind the bar, from which the landlord sold tokens to buy beer and thus removing any cash from the hands of the distrusted barstaff.

Location: 126 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7AA


This pub advertises itself as allowing people to see the Newgate prison cellars. My kids were doing a school project that had covered Newgate prison so we checked to see if they would allow kids in the cellars. During half-term we went to the pub and they said that we could see them with the kids after 3pm. We returned after 3pm only to be told that children werent allowed due to insurance restrictions;. Not only were the bar staff unhelpful, inconsiderate, they lied, wasted our time and disappointed our kids. (Martin)
Posted by Martin on 2011-10-24